Persecution—It's a Promise!
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
We are presenting a distorted message to the world when we try to make Christianity synonymous with health, wealth, and prosperity, while hiding the crux of Christianity—the cross. Discipleship is impossible without the cross, and following Christ is all about bearing it.
Pat Robertson is a man who teaches the distorted health-and-wealth message, deceiving many. In his book, The Secret Kingdom, he urges Christians to employ what he calls "the laws of prosperity to which God Himself is bound," and writes: "It's a bit like tuning in to a radio or television station: you get on the right frequency and you pick up the program."
But what about those believers who are never healed of their diseases, nor get the financial miracle they are hoping for? According to Robertson, they "have either failed to grasp the points we have been making about the operation of the kingdom, or they are not living according to the principles we have been exploring."
Michael Horton, a reformed theologian, wrote a scathing rebuke of Robertson's "prosperity theology" in his book entitled Made in America. He wrote:
The gospel is now consumer-centered, rather than God-centered. It is as if God must be justified before the sinner; now it is the unbeliever who has to be satisfied with God and His terms . . . and so we package our gospel in attractive terms and with attractive promises . . .
And others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, tempted, put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated . . . wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Evidently they hadn't tuned in to the laws of prosperity nor found the right frequency! The twisted prosperity theology of Robertson, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and a multitude of others, is truly a theology that has been "made in America"—consumer-oriented, consumer-driven. Instead of Sovereign God, we have sovereign man. If we discover the "key" to success, God will hand over the goods. Embedded in this false teaching is the tragic heresy that if mankind isn't happy, then God isn't a just God.
Are you following Christ out of consumer-driven motives? Are you expecting Him to bless you with more material things as a reward for wearing a cross on your necklace or having a fish sticker on your bumper? If you believe the text for today, you know that God has promised the opposite of health and wealth in this life—He's promised persecution to those who live godly in Christ Jesus.
The god of many televangelists is not the God of the Gospel. Don't tune in to the wrong channel . . . stay on His frequency!
Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to give you a willingness to accept whatever state you're in—whether poverty or prosperity. If you are prospering, pray that you will not trust Christ less; if you are struggling to make ends meet, pray that you will trust Christ more.
Extra Refreshment: Read Romans 8, where Paul describes the beauty of the "true" gospel, and reminds suffering believers where their hope is found.
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